DIY Network

How to Install Carpet Squares

Just about anyone can put in new carpet using carpet squares.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Prepare the Subfloor and Panels

The installation begins with a clean and level subfloor. Start by measuring to find the exact center of the room and snapping a chalk line. It’s a good idea to start with a dry layout, flipping tiles over to preserve the tacky backing.

Carpet panels should be allowed to acclimate to a temperature between 60 and 90 degrees for at least 24 hours prior to installation. There may be a new carpet odor when you open the boxes, but this will dissipate over time.

Panels can be installed directly over concrete, vinyl, hardwood, laminate or any solid surface that is smooth, dry, level and dust free. They can be installed over old carpet adhesive, as long as it’s no higher than 1/32 inch. However, cracks and holes that are larger than 1/8 inch need to be filled and smoothed.

Step 3: Set the Tiles in Place

When you’re ready, set tiles in place working outward from the center in any pattern you choose. Arrows on the back help you keep the pile facing the same direction.

Make sure the arrows on the back of all panels point in the same direction. Hold the carpet panel by the two flat sides and carefully place the edge against the edge of the panel, pull together for a secure, flush fit and drop into place. Panels should be installed as snugly as possible without pushing them together. If a panel is not installed right, pull it up and reinstall in the correct manner.

Step 4: Prevent the Trapping of Piling

Brushing up the yarn before placing down the next tile keeps the piling from being trapped between panels (Image 1). A credit card makes an ideal tool for brushing up the piling between tiles (Image 2).

At the wall, the row is finished out by flipping the tile over, placing it under the adjacent one and making a mark. Squares can be cut with scissors with the cut side placed against the wall. If a section becomes stained, all you have to do is replace a panel.

Transitions are used around doorways and places where the carpet connects to another type of surface. They protect the edges of the carpet panel and come in many different materials, shapes and sizes. A reducer is used between two floorings that have different thicknesses. T-molding transitions between floorings of similar heights and a threshold is used at door openings. All these pieces help to give a smooth transition between floors. They also eliminate trip hazards and provide a finishing look.